As the regulators begin to define what they will be looking into within the ARM industry a few things are clear. First is they are not looking to find ways to make our industry easier to work within, they have a clear agenda to find ways to regulate us and increase our overhead and reduce our profits.
Second it is clear they want to mandate compliance to FDCPA, TCPA and everything else including the ABC’s.
Third they do embrace outsourcing, by endorsing compliance offer outsourcing they have embraced the idea of outsourcing.
But what is probably most important about the regulation is the fact that compliance will equal longevity in the marketplace because of the regulators. So as a consultant that begs me to ask you what you are doing to become compliant in the eyes of the regulators?
For many of you compliance is driven by your clients and their requirements and auditing procedures. The creditors and large debt buyers are all clamping down on the agencies and law firms working their business by requiring more and more compliance and now proof of compliance.
Cameras, locked doors, call recording and the compliance officer are all additions to the original business model. And the clients are just getting started with those requests, as 2013 will bring more and more paperwork in the form expanded of SOP’s.
Standard Operating Procedures or SOP’s have been utilized in the industry for years to document a process in order to improve it or train it to new staff but the use of SOP’s as a compliance instrument is new. But now as you are just getting all those required SOP’s documented for the auditor he will start asking for a deeper dive into your processes. In 2013 the creditors will be asking you to write an SOP for the times when your staff did not follow the original SOP. So a SOP for the SOP, where does it stop?
Once you have documented the process for the auditor or for the regulators it is now available to be picked apart and its weaknesses exposed. This is the basis of Six Sigma to take a process and tear it apart and put it back together until it has a failure rate of just 1 in a million executions. Six Sigma processes are built to take in account all possible failures and create an alternative process to combat the weakness or failure. So the use of a SIX Sigma agent in your process development is an advantage.
The self-audit or an audit by an outside agency should be part of your strategic planning for 2013. Take that look in the mirror and look long and deep to find all the opportunities that exist in your organization for improvements. Create strategic standards ands goals for your organization and then do all you can to meet those standards even before you are ask to comply with such demands.
Here is what I suggest to my consulting clients; create strong processes, test their strength, document them, improve them and control them. If you can learn to do this in your organization you will have a more compliant office and that will equal longevity in the marketplace. Your competitors who cannot meet the high standards of clients and regulators will go away while you stand strong.